Please submit a search term.

Elaeagnus pungens

Common Name(s):
Silverthorn, Thorny elaeagnus
Cultivar(s):
Hosoba-fukurin, Fruitlandii
Category:
Shrubs
Comment:

This is a tough rapidly growing shrub that is resistant to drought, salt spray, pollution, and damage by deer.  Showy white fragrant flowers are followed by fruit that attracts birds.  Young branchlets are covered by brown scales.  The trunk tends to sucker and will also spread by seed.  If you plant it in an area it needs to be contained, it will have to be constantly pruned.  It is a large shrub so does well as a background plant, planted on slopes for erosion control, or as a barrier plant or windbreak.

Be wary It is listed on the Non Native Invasive Plants of Southern Forests,  North Carolina Invasive Plant Council and  the Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth. "Thorny olive can produced dense thickets, displacing native species and restricting human and animal activity."  Animals and birds help to disperse seeds.

Seasons of Interest:  
    Leaves: Evergreen Bloom: Fall; Fruit/Seed/Nut: Spring
 
Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems though fungal leaf spot and rust may occur and spider mites can attack stressed plants. Although technically a shrub, Elaeagnus pungens is capable of climbing and can attach to overhead trees if branches are not maintained. 
Height:
10-15 ft.
Foliage:
Alternate, simple, elliptic to oblong, 2-4 in. long; ruffled margins; shiny green on top, silvery-white with tiny brown scales below
Flower:
Fragrant, bell-shaped silvery white flowers in axillary clusters bloom in fall; 0.5-0.7 in. Flowers are not particularly showy, but are intensely fragrant (gardenia-scented). Small, one-seeded, reddish-brown fruits (drupes to 1/2" long) typically ripen in spring (late March-May). Fruits are technically edible, but perhaps best left for the birds.
Zones:
7-9
Habit:
Evergreen
Site:
Range of soil types including poor and infertile. It tolerates shade but will have thinner foliage.
Texture:
Coarse
Form:
Dense, spreading mound with long, loose, thorny arching branches
Width:
6-10 ft.
Tags:
birds, pollution, erosion, weedy, drought, fall flowers, barrier, winter interest, screen, invasive, windbreak, wildlife, deer resistant, evergreen

NCCES plant id: 1539

Eleagnus pungens Eleagnus pungens
Kahlil, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Eleagnus pungens Whole plant
Phillip Merritt, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Eleagnus pungens Flower
KENPEI, CC-BY-SA-3.0
Eleagnus pungens Leaf underside
Bri Weldon, CC BY - 2.0
Eleagnus pungens Fruit
KENPEI, CC-BY-SA-3.0